AF command to test workflow system

AF command to test workflow system

Beta version of E-Works management program draws rave reviews from users

By Thomas R. Temin

GCN Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala.'The Air Force Air Combat Command will be the first to use the production version of a new document workflow system.

The service's Space Command has done a shakedown of the beta version.

Standard Systems Group developers at Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., are putting the finishing touches on E-Works, previously called Workflow Management. They plan to make the finished version available for download by Air Force offices beginning Oct. 16, said Lt. Rebecca Hughes, E-Works program manager. She spoke last week at the Air Force Information Technology Conference.

Written in Microsoft Visual Basic and C++, E-Works is a system for creating, processing and tracking what the service calls 'suspense staff packages.' That's the Air Force's term for the forms associated with various tasks and projects and their required approvals. E-Works uses Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, the Air Force's standard e-mail messaging products.

The package is compatible with Defense Message System software, said Lt. Jason Fick, E-Work's programming manager. But it has not received the Air Force's networthiness and security certifications.

E-Works will take only a minute or so to download and will require a server running Microsoft Windows 2000, Fick said. A single server is supporting 800 users at Space Command, and another single server supports 1,500 users on a similar workflow system at the Navy, he said.

Hughes said the application was created in direct response to requests by commands, including Space and Air Combat.

'We had interest from every major command and unified command,' she said.

That sentiment was echoed by Master Sgt. David McClellan of the Air Combat Command, who said that when Air Force users saw E-Works beta versions, they told him, ''Give it to me and give it to me now.' They flip out over it.'

The beta test by Space Command revealed some problems, Hughes said. E-Works' interface has many buttons, and users pushing the wrong ones produced error messages the program was not able to overcome.

Also, some buttons did not do what they were supposed to, and the program has had some trouble handling attachments, she said.

SSG will work out the bugs by next month's release, Hughes said.

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